How to Clean Air Vents & Ducts

Schedule Now

Many Cincinnati homeowners want a cleaner home and better indoor air quality – achieve both when you clean air vents and ducts. HVAC contractor Apollo Home shares why you need to clean air vents, how to clean air vents, and when to call in the pros.

Why Clean Air Vents?

The air circulating in your Cincinnati home carries a lot of airborne contaminants. These contaminants travel through the duct system and land on air vents as well as within the ducts. Condensation within ducts and on air vents traps these particles, which causes a buildup of contaminants. In certain conditions, this also creates a haven for mold spores.

This diminishes indoor air quality because the contaminants recirculate with every heating and cooling cycle. Contaminants return to your living areas where they settle on surfaces. As they cycle through your HVAC system, they eventually hinder equipment performance and efficiency.

Remove these pollutants from your home when you clean air vents and ducts. Improve indoor air quality, keep your home looking cleaner, and safeguard your HVAC system from damage.

How to Clean Air Vents

Follow these simple steps to clean air vents throughout your Cincinnati area home:

  1. Turn off your HVAC system.
  2. Unscrew register covers to remove them from the floor, wall, or ceiling.
  3. Use a cleaning brush to remove buildup on the register cover. If the buildup is tough, use soap and water, and allow the covers to completely dry.
  4. With your vacuum hose, vacuum around the air vent opening as well as into the duct as far as possible.
  5. Replace register covers and screw them in. 
  6. Make sure air vent louvers are open before restarting your HVAC system.

How to Clean Ducts (DIY)

The DIY process to clean air vents only reaches about an arm’s length into your duct system from each exit point. For this deep cleaning project you’ll need: 

  • a shop vac or vacuum cleaner with accessories hose
  • cleaning clothes, preferably microfiber
  • a dust brush (for the vacuum)
  • cordless drill 
  • a dryer vent brush cleaner, rotary-style
  • a dust mask, gloves and if necessary, plastic sheeting to protect the area around the duct from a bigger mess.

Step One

Follow the steps to clean the air vents, as described above but leave the register and vent covers off. 

Step Two

Affix the rotary dryer vent brush to your cordless drill and – this is important – make sure it’s firmly attached. Test it before you stick it in the ductwork. Imagine the headache of losing the brush inside the ductwork!

Step Three

Turn on the drill and slowly move the brush around the duct. Gently pull back while the rotary brush sweeps the walls of the duct. To avoid the dustbowl in your living room, turn the drill off when the brush is two feet from the exit. 

Step Four

Now that you’ve disrupted all the dust and gunk, insert the vacuum cleaner hose with the dust brush attachment into the ductwork. Reminder, do what you need to do to ensure they cannot accidentally separate. Vacuum all the dust, spiderwebs and other microscopic nasty stuff. 

Step Five

Are you wearing your dust mask still? Good. Take the microfiber cloth, dampen it and reach down into the ductwork and wipe it clean. Rinse the cloth as often as needed. The first time you do this, it will probably be pretty gross. Allow the ductwork to dry. Return the vents and screw in as necessary. 

In general, household vacuums are unable to reach throughout a home’s expansive duct system. They do not have the power to deep clean and are obviously unhelpful in the detection of mold which sometimes grows in the ducts. 

If You Suspect Mold Might be in Your Ducts

If you think there’s a chance you have mold in your ductwork, do not disturb it. Any DIY attempts are likely to make the contamination worse. It’s best to consult a professional mold removal and remediation specialist. 

To reduce the risk of mold, fix any roof leaks quickly and ask your HVAC contractor about a whole house dehumidifier. They help control the amount of moisture indoors and even help your air conditioner run more efficiently.

Professional duct cleaning services offer thorough cleaning for your residential duct system. This process removes contaminants from ducts using specialized vacuums, blowers, and brushes, and sanitizes the return and supply ducts of the home. Be sure to use a contractor certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).

Keep Air Vents & Ducts Clean with These Tips

In addition to these cleaning steps, there are a few more things that help you keep your air vents and duct system clean.

  • Change your furnace filter on a regular basis. Dirty furnace filters not only cause issues with HVAC system performance, but they are unable to trap circulating contaminants. Regular filter changes help remove these particulates so they do not build up on vents and in ducts.
  • Your HVAC contractor also provides products to improve indoor air quality and keep your ducts cleaner throughout the year. Air cleaners use high-efficiency media filters to trap more contaminants, removing them from circulation. UV light technology in air purifiers kills mold, virus, and bacteria growing in the system and prevents its spread throughout the home.

Apollo Home – Experts in Heating & Air Comfort and Air Quality

Apollo Home provides heating and cooling services as well as indoor air quality equipment to give Cincinnati residents a cleaner, healthier, more comfortable indoor environment. In addition, Apollo Home provides plumbing and electrical services to take care of the health of your whole home. Gain better indoor air quality and comfort today – contact us to learn more.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.



    Apollo Care Plan